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Chateaugay Hopes to Keep Prison Despite Possible State Funds

Gov. Cuomo announced in his budget address that he wants to give $24 million to communities in New York losing prisons this year.
CHATEAUGAY, NY -

In New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget address, he announced he's giving $24 million to communities losing prisons this year, that includes Chateaugay, New York. But in Chateaugay, people haven’t given up the fight to keep it open.

Wendy's Quickstop in Chateaugay New York stays afloat, in part, because of the prison.

“We average between 80-100 customers a day from the prison. We stand to lose that many if the prison closes,” said Wendy Jones, owner of Wendy’s Quickstop.

The Chateaugay Correctional Facility employs 110 people. Those people help stir area's economy. That's why the town says it's against the state's decision to close it come July.

“Now they're trying to take it away from us after we've become used to it. We really need the jobs,” said Don Bilow, Chateaugay Town Supervisor.

Bilow is passionate about the prison staying open. So when he heard Tuesday afternoon that Governor Cuomo has budgeted $24 million for economic development in towns like Chateaugay that are losing prisons, he was skeptical.

“The pot of money, we're quite leery of because we don't know of anybody who's gotten any of it,” said Bilow.

There are 4 New York communities with prisons scheduled to close this year. Those in charge don't know how the money will be distributed.

“It's still very vague with how it will be dispersed, maybe it will come through the Regional Councils and obviously the communities will have to come up with a plan,” said Billy Jones, Chair of Franklin County Board of Legislators.

A plan that may lack heart considering the community doesn't want to lose the prison.

“This facility is extremely important,” explained Bilow.

“It's already here. Why leave it empty, it's already here,” said Wendy Jones.

While the state hasn't rescinded its decision to close the prison in July, Don Bilow and others are still hopeful it will change its mind.

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